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Lions Roar : May 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2009 68 years. I chant. I do a lot of exercise. I try to let myself feel what- ever it is I’m feeling. I’m often in the midst of a lot of people’s pain. A lot of people feel compelled to share their pain with me. It’s an enormous privilege and I feel honored, but it’s also extremely painful. Yesterday I had one of those days when I was quite low, and I cried for a good part of it. Now I’m better. When we cry, when we take the time to go through what we’re going through, it passes. MARCh, 2007 Thich Nhat Hanh Why do so many of us find it hard to love ourselves? There may be a habit within ourselves of looking for happiness elsewhere than in the here and the now. We may lack the capac- ity to realize that happiness is possible in the here and now, that we already have enough conditions to be happy right now. The habit energy is to believe that happiness is not possible now and that we have to run to the future in order to get some more conditions for happiness. That prevents us from being estab- lished in the present moment, from getting in touch with the wonders of life that are available in the here and now. That is why happiness is not possible. To go home to the present moment, to take care of oneself, to get in touch with the wonders of life that are really available—that is already love. Love is to be kind to yourself, to be compassionate to yourself, to generate images of joy, and to look at everyone with eyes of equanimity and non-discrimination. That is something to be cultivated. Non-self can be achieved. It can be touched slowly. The truth can be cultivated. When you discover something, in the beginning you discover part of it. If you continue, you have a chance to discover more. And finally you discover the whole thing. When you love, if your love is true, you begin to see that the other person is a part of you and you are a part of her or him. In that realization there is already non-self. If you think that your happiness is different from their happiness, you have not seen anything of non-self, and happiness cannot be obtained. So as you progress on the path of insight into non-self, the happiness brought to you by love will increase. When people love each other, the distinction, the limits, the frontier between them begins to dissolve, and they become one with the person they love. There’s no longer any jealousy or anger, because if they are angry at the other person, they are angry at themselves. That is why non-self is not a theory, a doctrine, or an ideology, but a realization that can bring about a lot of happiness. You’ve written about a love that you had, somebody you clearly loved very deeply, whom you left. How do you feel about that now? Is that, at this point in your life, a regret? That love has never been lost. It has continued to grow. The object of my love grows every day, every day, every day, until I can em- brace everyone. To love someone is a very wonderful opportu- nity for you to love everyone. If it is true love. In the insight of non-self, you see that the object of your love is always there and the love continues to grow. Nothing is lost and you don’t regret anything, because if you have true love in you, then you and your true love are going in the same direction, and each day you are able to embrace, more and more. So to love one person is a great opportunity for you to love many more. Yet monasticism—and you are very encouraging toward those who would like to become monks or nuns—renounces this love. Why is it a good thing to forgo this opportunity to love? In the life of a monastic, you make the vow to develop your love and your understanding. You develop the capacity to embrace everyone into your love. So loving one person, as I said, is an opportunity for you to love many more people. especially when that person shares the same aspiration as you, there is no suffer- ing at all. As a monastic you lead a life of monastic celibacy and community, and if the one you love realizes that, she will not suffer, and you will not suffer, because love is much more than having a sexual relationship. Because of great love you can sac- rifice that aspect of love, and your love becomes much greater. That nourishes you, that nourishes the other person, and finally your love will have no limit. That is the Buddha’s love. MARCh, 2006 Tom Robbins You seem to be particularly partial to Zen Buddhism. Is it Zen’s version of crazy wis- dom that appeals to you, or are there other elements that draw you to it? The branch of Zen Bud- dhism that has long inter- ested me is Rinzai, the sect that eschews the mind-quieting practice of meditation in favor of the mind-blowing activity of wrestling with koans. Koans, of course, are those carefully crafted riddles that can never be solved by means of anything remotely resembling deductive logic. On a purely intellectual level, attempting to solve koans is a perfect manifestation of crazy wisdom at work. It’s important to emphasize, however, that, unlike Zen, crazy wisdom is not a prac- tice, it’s an attitude (an attitude I seem to have had since birth). phOTOBYJeFFCORWIN